The Character of Brutus in Julius Caesar
“Et tu Brute?” Caesar’s simple statement sums up Brutus’ round character in the development of The Tragedy of Julius Caesar. Brutus was thought to represent no threat due to his nobility and his loyalty; however, these qualities are precisely why the story is such a catastrophe. What stemmed from these traits is the last expected outcome. Caesar’s surprise was so immense, he could only mutter these last few words. Brutus’ honorable nobility, his loyal patriotism, and his naïve and idealistic manner define Shakespeare’s tragic hero.
Honor is an underlying foundation of Brutus and can be clearly seen during the play’s dramatic speeches. Brutus himself makes his honor apparent in his orations. After the assassination of Caesar and during the funeral speech, Brutus asks the people of Rome, “Who is here so rude that would not be a Roman? If any, speak; for him I have offended”(act III, sc ii, ln 29-32). This in Brutus proves he is noble as he cares and protects the welfare of the people and Rome as a whole. He is torn between his sense of duty with Rome and his friendship with Caesar. In the end; however, he must rationalize his actions to save face and conform to both sides of his conflict. Furthermore, Brutus tries to prove his nobility to virtually everyone. When Brutus utters his last words, he tells Caesar his intentions, “I killed thee with half so good a will”(act V, sc v, ln 50-51). His honor is always persistent and never fails to prevail at even the most taxing and awkward situation. Brutus considers his honor in every aspect and choice in his life and often rules over his own accord. Accordingly, many people, including his enemies, were very much aware of his honor. When he witnesses Brutus’ dead body at the battleground of Philipi, Antony states he is the “noblest Roman of them all”and “all the conspirators save only he, did that they did in envy of great Caesar; he, only in a general honest…”(act V, sc v, ln 68-71). Brutus’ honor is so strong and visible even his enemies witnessed his astonishing nobility. Antony knows Brutus would only do such an act with true vindication, although the other conspirators, while still noble, would not hold true to the high standard Brutus’ created. Brutus’ nobility was clarified with his speeches and made easily seen due to others awareness of this strong support of his character.
Also unmistakably obvious is Brutus’ loyal patriotism to his country. Brutus knows his own loyalty and values it above almost anything. Brutus illustrates his great patriotism by comparing it with death, “If it aught toward the general good, Set honor in one eye and death i’th’ other…as I love the name of honor more than I fear death”(act I, sc ii, ln 85,86,89). Brutus values Rome above anything else and would be willing to give his life for the “general good.” Brutus claims he will be loyal to the end, due to...